Serving city dwellers and country folk alike, Frontier Communications provides phone, Internet, and satellite TV (through a partnership with DISH Network) services across 27 states. The company has more than 3 million residential and 2 million business voice subsribers. It also has 1.7 million broadband Internet customers and more than half a million satellite video subscribers. Frontier is active mostly in rural and small to mid-sized markets, where it is the incumbent local-exchange carrier (ILEC). The company's top three markets in terms of subscribers are West Virginia, Indiana, and New York.
Residential landlines may be on the decline as more households switch to a wireless provider for their primary phone service, but Frontier operates mostly in rural markets, where cellular service can still be spotty. Frontier is able to remain competitive with other triple-play providers because of the TV service it offers through DISH Network. (Satellite TV operators can't offer digital phone service, which puts them at a disadvantage to cable companies such as Comcast and Time Warner.
Frontier significantly expanded its footprint in 2010 when it bought 4.8 million telephone and broadband access lines in 14 states from Verizon Communications for about $8.6 billion in cash and stock. The deal roughly tripled Frontier's size and gave it a healthy boost against other rural carriers. Before it was approved, the transaction met with opposition from labor unions and legislators in Illinois. Verizon, which initiated the sale to meet regulatory requirements for its 2009 purchase of wireless carrier Alltel, took a more than two-thirds stake in Frontier as part of the deal.
The expansion has fueled sales, with the company's 2011 revenue topping $5 billion, after coming in well under $4 billion the previous year. Frontier's income slipped a bit for the year, however, as the company contends with expenses from integrating the far-flung operations of its acquired business. – less